Monday, April 30, 2007

Support Your Local Newspaper Before It Goes Broke


The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

Thomas Jefferson
Letter to Edward Carrington
January 16, 1787

What I didn't say, being discreet before my eager and innocent audiences, was that there will always be journalists because there will always be jerks out there who must be irritated as part of nature's plan. Moreover, all humanity will be reduced if rumpled, soup-stained persons armed with adjectives aren't running the ridges in pursuit of facts to wake up the public in this age of amnesia.

Reg Henry
Deseret Morning News

Newspapers may fold, but the profession won't die
April 30, 2007

A year and a half ago we published this Robyn Blumner article: "A chilling vision of a world without newspapers". Ms. Blumner's article did not paint a rosy picture for the traditional print media, in our "modern" age of lagging hard-copy subscriptions, bean counter-driven content, and general broadcast/cable media shallowness.

This morning's Reg Henry Deseret News Op-Ed piece (via the Pittsburg Post-Gazette) is decidedly more optimistic, from the viewpoint of the journalistic profession, at least.

The worry I shared ..., as one who loves newspapers and whose father was a war correspondent with Gen. Douglas MacArthur, is that the economics of the newspaper industry no longer work. Just this week brought news that the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times are reducing their staffs.

Across the nation, newspapers are becoming leaner. But as this process unfolds, they are converting their brand names into reliable and professional information centers on the Internet highway. This is the hope, anyway.
Your ever-humble blogmeister of course does not consider himself to be a "member of the jerk community and assorted bloggers (who) cheer for the death of newspapers." As a matter of fact, we admit we are highly dependant upon our local newspapers' usually competent news reporting and editorial opinions for our ongoing blog discussions. Moreover, we number ourself among the ancient and dwindling demographic for whom wandering out onto the front porch (or thereabouts) to retrieve our Standard-Examiner hard-copy edition in the pre-dawn hours is an important daily ritual.

And to our younger readers we say this: Why not spring for a subscription to your local newspaper? A Std-Ex daily subscription is only eleven-and-a-half bucks. Internet-addicted readers of course receive free access to the excellent "Digital Edition" Std-Ex version, along with their home-delivered print edition. Frankly, we can't think of a greater bargain.

Have at it, gentle readers. Who else wants to help our beloved home-town newspaper "convert its brand name into a reliable, professional" (and profitable) "information center on the Internet highway"... at the very least?

And NO! Don Porter did not put us up to this.

Update 5/1/07 8:02 a.m. MT: Don't miss yesterday's timely and on-topic SLTrib op-ed piece by Greg Palast, (via the LA Times): U.S. media haven't the will to dig deep.

Update 5/5/07 10:38 a.m. MT: The Std-Ex toots its own horn this morning with this story, which also clarifies the strategy re its excellent Digital Edition paid site.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Weber County Forum Sunday Sermon

A Tribute to the survivors of Corregidor and Mindanao

"Courage is a quality God has seen fit to dispense with utmost care. The men of Bataan were His chosen favorites."

Major General Edward P. King, Jr.,
USA Commanding General, Luzon Forces

Back to Bataan

By Tom Owens

They are old men now. They are bent and gray, some are in wheel chairs, some can barely see, most wear hearing aids. Age and the vicissitudes of life have done what the cruelest of the soldiers of the Japanese Imperial Army could not.

These Brothers in Bondage came together last week in Washington, D.C. for the sixty second year to celebrate their survival and their victory over the Japanese nation that tried to destroy them in their youth. They are the survivors of the Bataan Death March. They are the survivors of Corregidor and Mindanao. They are the survivors of the prisoner of war camps in the Philippines. They are the survivors of the notorious Hell Ships that so few lived to tell about. They are the survivors of unimaginable cruelties imposed upon them as slave laborers in Japan's acid plants and armament factories and coal mines. They are great men of great honor who survived incredible odds. They are the few who came home.

It has been one of the great honors of my life to attend the convention of the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor this past week in Washington, D.C. There are perhaps two hundred of these great American Heros left out of a hundred and twenty five thousand that were taken captive by the Japanese as the Philippines and Far East fell to the Imperial Army in 1942. There were about seventy of them that convened last week to once again break bread and renew the bond that only they can share.

The Bushido code of the Japanese Military of that time made any one taken prisoner a sub human not worthy of normal compassion or respect. That is why there were so few Japanese prisoners taken by the Allied forces in World War Two. It is also why the Allied prisoners taken prisoner by the Japanese were brutalized beyond anything in modern warfare, or anything we can imagine.

The death toll for American prisoners of the Japanese was over forty percent. As a comparison, about two percent of those captured by the Germans died in captivity. Over a hundred and twenty five thousand American, British and Allied troops fell captive in Bataan, Corregidor and the Philippines after holding out against all odds from that day of infamy 7 December 1941 until the final fall of Corregidor and the surrender of the Philippines on 6 May 1942. They were already weak and frail from these long months of half rations as they tried to hold back the overwhelming tide of the Imperial Army. They had very few weapons, ammunition or equipment as they held out in the Hills of the Bataan Peninsula, the jungles of Mindanao and the fortified island of Corregidor in Manila Bay.

When they were finally overcome they were subjected to extreme cruelty beginning for many with the infamous Bataan Death March which took them seventy five miles over a dusty road in temperatures around a hundred degrees with no food or water. Any one who stumbled or failed to immediately obey any order was run through with a bayonet, or shot, or had their head cut off with a swift strike of a sword. Some were simply murdered on a whim. There was no mercy, there was no compassion, they had been abandoned by their country and by their God. They were at the mercy of a merciless and evil empire.

When those that survived the march reached Camp O'Donnell they had only begun their journey through the depths of hell. The camp was a fetid mosquito and fly infested place of death. They suffered from dysentery, malaria, diarrhea, beri beri, starvation and the ever-present brutality of their captors. They suffered beyond our imaginations and they died horribly by the thousands.

In the words of Abie Abraham who survived it: "The death toll was like a scoreboard that was constantly changing. With men dying at the rate of thirty to forty a day, the bodies started to stack up like cordwood. The burial details couldn't dispose of the corpses fast enough. The days fell on us like a relentless hammer. We were wretched animals. Every day we walked among the dead, having no thoughts, no desires. There was no stopping the deaths. They went on and on like the waves of the ocean."

In addition to being arbitrarily murdered for the slightest of reasons, they were starved, denied water and medicine and forced into slavery under the worse possible conditions. Over twenty one thousand of these brave young men were killed on the notorious Hell Ships which the Japanese used to transport them through out the far east for use as slaves. These ships were unmarked and thus subject to attack by American forces. On the twenty fourth of February 1944 the Tango Maru was torpedoed and three thousand American servicemen went to their deaths confined in the stinking sewage filled hold. On the seventeenth of September 1944 the Juno Maru was hit by American bombers and five thousand six hundred and twenty of our brothers, sons and fathers met their horrible fate in the depths of the China Sea. These are only two examples, the list goes on and on and is typical of the sheer cruelty suffered by these great men.

And now there are only two hundred left. In spite of their unspeakable suffering and sacrifice they are a rather jovial and fun group when they are together. They can joke about most anything, they can tell great funny stories and do. But underneath this wonderful positive spirit there is a deep and abiding reverence for their fallen comrades and the last just war. There is a great love of their country that deserted them in those darkest hours, and there is a barely disguised contempt for politicians that lead the younger generations into new and foolish wars in other foreign lands.

It was humbling to be in the presence of these defenders of freedom. They are the best of that Greatest Generation that stood up for freedom in the world's darkest hour.

Mr. Owens is a U.S. army veteran who served with the 101st Airborne Division during the Vietnam Era, and who maintains a strong continuing interest in veterans' issues. In November of last year, as part of a Veteran's Day special edition, the Salt Lake Tribune published another of Mr. Owens' articles -- a tribute to Salt Lake City resident Courtney Kruger, a survivor of several years' captivity in the brutal custody of the Japanese Army. We also provide a link to that "companion article" here.

Something "Uncle Greg" Forgot to Mention

By Curmudgeon

I'd like to make reference to today's lead editorial in the SL Tribune.

Here are the opening 'graphs:

It seems obvious to most of us: Building homes on land that is prone to move is, to put it mildly, unwise.

But some developers who stand to make fortunes selling houses on hillsides that offer million-dollar views don't see it that way. Indeed, as long as the home stands still long enough for them to take the money and run, they don't seem to see any problem at all.

They do, however, object strenuously to government stepping in to put limits on where they can build. That's too bad. When public safety bumps up against private development rights, safety must come first.

The governor's task force on geologic hazards is moving in exactly the right direction toward reining in building on sensitive hillsides where homes are apt to be damaged by landslides. The group, comprising engineers, geologists and other scientists, has recommended a sensible course of action for the state, such as training local planners and raising standards for geotechnical engineers. It will also propose a model ordinance for cities and counties.
And from a little further down in the editorial:

Cities and counties need all the help they can get as they go up against deep-pocketed and politically influential Realtors and developers. Those groups are heavily represented in the Legislature and will, no doubt, do all they can to undercut efforts to curb the profit-first excesses of some land developers.

Having scientific support and state backing for a local ordinance to restrict development and require building practices that mitigate the risk of landslides may take some of the heat off local officials if they must go head-to-head with those developers who have made these regulatory measures necessary.

Gee, when Mr. Montgomery (Emerald City Planning Department Director AND Mayor Godfrey's uncle), speaking for the Administration, was trying to convince the Planning Commission to lift the ban on building on lands sloping more than 30% in Sensitive Area Overlay Zones, and when he appeared before the Council trying to convince it to ignore the recommendation of the PC that the ban not be lifted until a Benchlands Zone was first established, he warned that if the PC and Ogden didn't do as the administration wanted, the state legislature or the courts might do it for them, hinting darkly at pending legislation [which subsequently did not pass] and as yet unfiled and unargued law suits. But I don't recall him mentioning that there was a governor's task force on geologic hazards at work, drafting a model sloped-lands development ordinance for towns and cities, drafted not by developer-legislators but by geologists, construction engineers and other similar qualified folk.

Must have slipped his mind, I guess.

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Novel Proposed Approach - Selling to the Highest Bidder

This morning's Ace Reporter Scott Schwebke story confirms what some of us had suspected: Boss Godfrey crony Chris Peterson has wisely allowed his ill-gotten Bootjack LLC purchase option to expire.

For the benefit of readers who missed out on the substance of this story the first go-round, we link background articles here and here.

What remains apparent from this morning's article is that Mr. Peterson and his de facto business broker, Boss Godfrey, still have every intention to proceed with the transaction however. This time, they evidently plan to engineer the transaction the old-fashioned Boss Godfrey way: pegging the sales price by means of a low-ball appraisal, without ever offering the property to other potential buyers on the open market.

For those babes in the woods who are unfamiliar with the practices of the real estate market by the way, custom-designed appraisals (low-ball and high-ball) are one of the "dirty little secrets" of the real estate appraisal industry.

This morning's article notes that the Emerald City RDA board implemented new policy in the wake of the Bootjack stealth option revelation: "As a result of the Bootjack incident, the RDA has adopted a policy that requires full disclosure regarding the identity of property buyers before it approves land sales."

This improved RDA Board approach only solves half the problem however. What is needed now is an RDA policy that requires economically significant RDA-owned properties (such as these Frontrunner Station adjacent parcels) to be placed on the open market for a reasonable period of time, in order to generate competing offers.

We have already heard from one interested potential buyer who lodged a verbal $300 thousand cash backup offer with the Emerald City Economic Development Department. We are curious to know why this fact was not mentioned in this morning's Std-Ex article.

It's time, we think, for our RDA board to act on this before it is too late. At the very least, this property ought to be advertised for sale in the newspaper, if not on the Weber-Davis Multiple Listing Service.

The RDA board has a fiduciary obligation, owed to the citizens of Emerald City, to generate the highest possible sales price for any property it sees fit to remove from its inventory. Such is particularly true as to these parcels, which are key to our Emerald City downtown development.

Whether our Rip Van Winkle RDA Board will properly fulfill that important obligation is a question which remains to be answered.

A Friday morning query to our gentle readers: Will the RDA Board allow itself to be bush-wacked yet again?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Miscellaneous Interesting Tidbits From the Standard-Examiner

With new updates from the Salt Lake Tribune

We find three particularly interesting tidbits in the news this morning; and once again the Standard-Examiner sets the pace.

On the front page, Bryon Saxton reports that Governor Huntsman's Geologic Hazards Working Group, is nearing completion on the drafting of a model ordinance to assist local governments in writing their own ordinances for landslide-prone hillside development projects:
SALT LAKE CITY — A geologic hazards task force hopes to make available to city and county officials a model ordinance they can work from to prevent or mitigate building on potential landslide areas.

Some recommendations in the draft include requesting that leaders become educated in land-use regulations, a stricter enforcement of grading codes in building on sloped lands, and updating and making more accessible to the public geologic hazard maps.
We believe the timely intervention of the Governor's task force in this arena is a very good thing, inasmuch as it will create a coherent document with potential applicability throughout the state. We believe Emerald City planners, who have been fumbling with their own revisions to Emerald City's existing Sensitive Zones Ordinance, ought to stand back and table any proposed hillside ordinance revisions, until the governor's task force has completed its project in June.

Next, Scott Schwebke reports that a completed Mt. Ogden Neighborhood plan document is now in the hands of the city council. This document, which represents the efforts of the hundreds of community-minded citizens who served on neighborhood committees over the summer, appears from today's article to fairly embody the expressed desires of the Mt. Ogden neighborhood community:
"... a citizen committee that studied community identity calls for the city to revise its ordinances to prohibit new gated communities and subdivisions in the Mount Ogden area.

"... [A] committee assigned to look into park and open space issues, determined Mount Ogden Park, including the golf course and adjoining land, should be kept undeveloped.

'The golf course and trails that wind through the park and nearby properties are a regional amenity that is enjoyed by a larger area than just this community,' according to the committee."
We look forward to having this matter added to the council calender at the earliest available date.

Finally, as noted in a lower comments thread, Councilman Safsten, a "Gang of Six" council holdover, and one of the more reliable Boss Godfrey supporters on the city council, announces this morning that he will not seek re-election to his Ward 4 council seat.

Best wishes go out to Councilman Safsten and his family -- and especially his wife Christine. Your blogmeister himself has a family member suffering from the ravages of multiple sclerosis. The expression of our sympathy is thus particularly heart-felt.

Take it away, gentle readers.

Update 4/26/07 11/;53 a.m. MT: Gentle Reader Ozboy provides us a helpful heads-up on two excellent Kristen Moulton articles from the Salt Lake Tribune website, discussing the Governor's Geologic Hazards Working Group project. See: Panel crafting to-do list to prevent damage from slides, quakes, floods and Stricter rules on housing debated.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Stealth Council Agenda & Other Interesting Stuff

Last night, gentle reader Sharon attended the regularly-scheduled city council meeting, and offered this "quick and dirty" report in a lower comments session. Her post provoked some scratching of readers' heads, inamuch as it was unclear, even to some of the council, evidently, exactly what the council approved last night, re the Mixed Use Ordinance matter which had suddenly appeared on the council agenda.

This morning's Scott Schwebke article clarifies the situation somewhat. From appearances, it is evident that the council approved a stripped-down version of the proposed mixed use ordinance which has been rattling around the planning commission for many months.
OGDEN — After a spirited debate, the Ogden City Council approved an ordinance Tuesday night establishing a mixed-use zone that can be applied in two areas of Ogden.

The council agreed to allow the new zone to be used downtown and in redevelopment areas, such as property that includes the Ogden River Project. However, the council stopped short of allowing it to be extended to other parts of the city.

Several council members said they felt uncomfortable expanding application of the zone without further study.

“I’m not sure we have had time to look it over,” Councilwoman Susan Van Hooser said.

The council agreed to hold a work session on July 12 to review expanding the zone’s use.
That this matter suddenly popped up on the council calender without fanfare, is troubling to some of us. We checked the council agenda, as published in the Standard Examiner on April 23, and this is the the language contained in that published notice:
TUESDAY - Ogden City Council - 5 p.m. work session, 2549 Washington Blvd.
That's it. The published notice was sparse as sparse could be. NO mention of the Mixed Use Ordinance. No mention of the city council meeting agenda at all!

We have serious doubts whether the notice of last night's meeting even slightly conformed to legal notice requirements for the calendering of such an agenda item. In this connection, we urge our readers to contact the city council, and demand that this matter be calendered for reconsideration, in order that the council may benefit from citizen input, before this ordinance is put into final legal effect. We think our hapless council got steamrolled -- again; and we urge our readers to let the council know what we think about last night's rushed deliberation.

Several other interesting items also appear in the Standard-Examiner this morning:

Rocky Fluhart, Ogden Home-boy, former Emerald City CAO and Salt Lake City CAO under Mayor Anderson, weighs in this morning with his own thoughts on the Godfrey/Peterson Landgrab Scheme. Our readers will also no doubt recall an earlier Std-Ex guest commentary from Gretchen Fluhart, Rocky's lovely wife, Ogden native and lifelong Ogden resident. It would appear, based on these two articles, that Mr. and Mrs. Fluhart are anything but Godfrey-lemmings.

Concidentally perhaps, we also find an article about Gretchen's brother, another Ogden Native, Jeff Lowe. Jeff, an internationally-acclaimed mountaineer, is still working on his Ice Tower Project, according to this Bryce Johnson story:
OGDEN — The resurrection of Holographic Ice Tower, which has been laying dormant in a west Ogden parking lot for two years, seems about to begin.

The location is still being determined. The money is still being raised.
But the tower’s proponents are sounding more optimistic than ever that the only refrigerated ice tower in the world could be standing, frozen, in Ogden by next winter’s first cold snap.

“I’m going to go out on a limb and say it will be (ready this winter),” said Jeff Lowe, who designed the tower in the mid-1990s for the ESPN X Games and has been orchestrating its revival.
Jeff's project has apparently received the strong blessing of the Godfrey administration:
Ogden Climbing Parks has already been approved for $200,000 in RAMP tax
money, half the estimated $400,000 it will take to upgrade and reconstruct the
65-foot tower. Lowe and Patterson said the group is applying for other grants to
cover the last $200,000.

The rebuilt tower will feature improved insulation and cooling systems that will make it more efficient and extend its ice season to at least five months a year, Lowe said. In the summer, it can be outfitted with soft wood for a similar climbing experience.

Ogden Climbing Parks has a lease agreement with the city to build the tower at Big Dee Sports Park, just off Harrison Boulevard on the Ogden River Parkway. But Patterson said the city is hoping the tower can be built downtown.

“Because of the iconic nature of this tower, it should be downtown, where it’s seen by our community and helps to add to that high-adventure extreme sport flavor that we’re trying to create,” [John] Patterson said.
We suggest that the fake mountain be installed on the plaza outside the Salomon Center three-story glass facade. That way the indoor "climbers" will be able to watch the ice climbers scale the faux ice mountain, while the "ice climbers" can view the "high adventure" activities on the indoor plastic mountain. That we think would be "most cool." "Synergistic" -- as Boss Godfrey would say.

And one of these days we hope that someone will be able to query Jeff Lowe, for his opinion on the Godfrey/Peterson landgrab. Whether Jeff Lowe is aboard the G-Train, is one of our most tantalizing unanswered questions.

We apologize for the late posting of this article. We've been plagued this morning with a series of technical problems.

The floor is open -- at last.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Monday Morning Pot-luck

Rolling out our new "Godfrey Dog & Pony Show" mp3 audio collection

We commented last week on the subject of Emerald City's recently compiled "wish list," wherein the city council reportedly enumerated a list of $43.2 million in capital improvements, to be prioritized over the next five years. Having reviewed the list at the time of publication of the above article, we queried whether the council may have "forgotten" about our dilapidated water and sewer systems -- systems which need $138 million in repairs to bring them up to snuff.

This morning's Standard-Examiner editorial follows up on the subject, with some new information from from Emerald City CAO John Patterson. Emerald City has planned for the expenditure of approximately "$7.2 million worth of rehabilitation between now and 2012," The Std-Ex reports. A mere "drop in the bucket," the Std-Ex calls it. Like the Std-Ex editors, we wonder whether the $7.2 million, over a five-year period, is nearly enough. It sounds like a band-aid solution to us.

And the Std-Ex letters section features yet another Boss Godfrey rah-rah letter from the Boss Godfrey Campaign Letter Mill this morning, in which declared Emerald City resident and apparent Godfrey-lemming Jean H. Mathews complains that "other people" are ill-informed. Judging from Ms. Matthews' letter, it would appear that there remains at least a rear-guard of a few people residing in our Brave New MattGodfreyWorld who still cling to the now-thoroughly discredited notion that it's Chris Peterson's own money (and not our Mt. Ogden Park equity) which Chris "plans" to "invest" in our town -- and that Boss Godfrey has the lumpencitizens' best interests at heart. Godfrey is "aggressive and single minded," Ms. Matthews readily concedes. "Aggressive and single minded" -- like a swarm of killer bees -- we ever so snarkily intone.

And last but not least, we're going to reprise a discussion we had earlier on these Weber County Forum pages, in which one of our gentle readers highlighted an April 16 question & answer session at Weber State U.

Whereas we'd earlier posted a written transcript of that entire proceeding, we're now going to one-up ourselves, with some new material furnished over the weekend by another gentle reader. In that connection we've uploaded a series of mp3 audio files to our archive storage site, which are helpfully indexed at this link. We have a full audio transcript, along with some carefully selected audio excerpts and text files. Be sure to check it out.

The written transcript was revealing; but you ain't heard nuttin' yet -- until you hear it all delivered in the Alternately Snarling & Sniveling Boss Godfrey Munchkin Voice. We encourage you all to download these files to your iPods and play them back everywhere you go. Amaze your Friends! Experience endless gleeful hours of knee-slapping auditory pleasure!

We've also added a link to these files in the sidebar, entitled "Godfrey Dog & Pony Show."

Have at it, gentle readers.

What's on your minds this Monday morning... or later in the day, as the case may be?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Good News for Two Emerald City Property Owners

Emerald City receives an adverse ruling from the State Ombudsman's Office

The Salt Lake Tribune's Kristen Moulton reports this morning that Emerald City property owner Michael Moyal and his partner have prevailed in their case before Utah's Office of Property Rights Ombudsman, pursuant to their claim that Emerald City's recent 6-month Riverside property development moratorium is illegal under Utah law.

We quote from today's article in pertinent part:
OGDEN - Utah's property-rights ombudsman says Ogden illegally enacted a land-use moratorium, which it used as the reason for denying the owners of the Ogden River Inn permission to open a restaurant.
In an advisory opinion issued this week, the ombudsman office said Ogden did not have a "compelling, countervailing public interest"- as required by Utah law - when the City Council froze all construction activity in the Ogden River Project area for six months.
The council voted for the moratorium on Jan. 2, but backdated the effective date to Dec. 19.
At the time, Ogden planners argued the temporary land-use ordinance, or moratorium, was necessary so the city could prepare a mixed-use ordinance for the 60-acre redevelopment project.
"Ogden's findings cite a preference for one land use over another as justification for the temporary ordinance, and suggest that the matter is urgent, although the river-project plan, which is the basis for the temporary ordinance, was adopted 4 1/2 years ago," the opinion said.
It was signed by Brent Bateman, one of the attorneys in Utah's Office of Property Rights Ombudsman. Bateman will soon replace Craig Call as the lead state ombudsman.
The co-owner of the Ogden River Inn, Michael Moyal, who had requested the opinion, said Wednesday that he's hopeful the city will now work with him and his partner so they can reopen a long-closed restaurant.
City Attorney Gary Williams could not be reached for comment, but Council Chairman Jesse Garcia said he expects city officials will work with Moyal to resolve the issue.
Although this decision is merely "advisory," it's a step in the right direction for Mr. Moyal and his business partner.

Lacking cooperation from the Emerald City administration, the next step, of course would be the District Court. This ruling would, we think, provide a sound legal foundation for Mr. Moyal, in the event he is forced to seek legal redress through the courts. In addition, it would put the burden upon the Emerald City administration to demonstrate that the Ombudsman's ruling was in error. Among other things, Mr. Moyal and his partner may be entitled to recover attorney's fees, in the event of litigation, together with other damages they may have suffered as a result of the city's highly oppressive action.

Mr. Moyal and his partner say they do not wish to litigate. They merely want to exercise their property rights and open their restaurant.

Will Boss Godfrey and his gang of property rights meddlers wake up and smell the coffee? Or will Emerald City find itself bogged down in another round of expensive and unnecessary litigation, on the eve of the 2007 municipal election?

A Weber County Forum Tip O' the Hat this morning to Michael Moyal and his partner, Balwinder Singh Johal, for exercising their legal rights under Utah Law, and achieving this important interim legal victory.

Don't let the cat get your tongues, O Gentle Ones.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Productive Night for Boss Godfrey Cronies

Last night's council/RDA action, as reported by the Standard-Examiner

The Standard Examiner reports this morning that Boss Godfrey scored a clean sweep at last night's RDA session, wherein the RDA board unanimously approved all three agenda items announced in yesterday's Scott Schwebke article:

1) Waiver of an RDA right of first refusal for a one-acre Junction project parcel at 22nd and Grant, clearing the way for acquisition and development of the property by BDO manager Stuart Reid;
2) Commitment of another $1.1 million in tax increment to Mel Kemp's MTK Holdings, to be applied toward improvements the the 91,000 square foot building housing Adam Aircraft;
3) Authorization for issuance of up to $3.5 million in revenue bonds, to allow U.S. Foodservice to purchase about 37 acres from Councilman Safsten's employer, Autoliv Inc.

Maybe it's just us, but we wonder whether it isn't just a bit inelegant for Emerald City's BDO manager, Mr. Reid, to be involving himself personally in property development at The Junction. Whether this proposed property acquisition represents at least a potential conflict with his contractual obligations at BDO we can only speculate. However, this situation has a bad smell to it, we think.

As for the RDA Board's approval of the commitment of additional credit to Mr. Kemp, we note that this is at least the second time Emerald City has come to his rescue. Emerald City generously awarded Mel Kemp's consortium over $2 million tax increment just two and a half years ago to bail him out financially. We wonder why Mr. Kemp can't obtain his own private financing.

Regarding the $3.5 million bonding for the Autoliv property sale, we are gratified to learn that Mr. Safsten recused himself from the Autoliv/Foodservice transaction funding vote. A more direct potential conflict of interest scenario we cannot imagine, than the employee of the seller in a land transaction voting as a public official on the bonding intended to provide the actual funding . Our compliments to Mr. Safsten, for conducting himself in a manner demonstrating the highest possible ethical standards, and placing himself beyond reproach.

In another Std-Ex story, we learn that the Emerald City Council has cobbled together a $43.2 million "wish list," identifying capital improvement projects to be prioritized over the next five years. Among the projects approved in concept only during last night's council session (no actual funds were committed,) were various street, sidewalk and building repairs, together with improvements at the FrontRunner station. Noticeably absent from from the council list are improvements to the city's woefully dilapidated water and sewer systems, which bodes well for sellers of bottled water in the city's East Bench area, we suppose.

Have at it, gentle readers.

The floor is open.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Std-Ex Editorial Cheap Shot at the 2007-08 Emerald City Pay Plan

Did the Emerald City Administration "Give Away the Store?"

By Curmudgeon

The Standard-Examiner today has a lead editorial attacking the recently announced pay raises for Ogden city workers [$3000 per worker plus the city will pay the anticipated 7.5% increase in medical insurance costs for each as well.]

The Std-Ex editorial says:
The thing we'd like to know is: How many average workers in the private sector are getting $3,000 raises this year? And, the editorial concludes: The thing that seems to be getting lost in this discussion between elected leaders and city employees is that this is taxpayer money. As we've urged before, raises ought to be reasonable and mirror, more or less, averages in the private sector. This money comes from Ogden businesses and residents. The city should be exercising much more discipline than this in an effort to be fiscally responsible.
The Std-Ex editorial page has been doing remarkably good stuff of late, but this time they've gone off the rails. They've decided that pay raise constitutes squandering the public's money because the raise is greater than raises being offered to private sector employees this year, they think. And so they conclude it's excessive.

There is so much [potentially] wrong with that conclusion it's hard to know where to begin. For openers, it ignores [by not even asking about] the size of pay increase for city employees over, say, the last five years. IF those raises were lower than the cost of living, then city workers have been falling behind and this year's raise constitutes a "catch up" provision to make up for under-payments previous years.

Is that true? I don't know. But, apparently, neither does the Std-Ex. All the editorial board looked at apparently is the size of this year's raises. Finding the information to assess the wisdom [or it could be lack of wisdom] in this year's raise package would of course require some research... which evidently the SE editorial board chose not to do. Much easier to just criticize in the absence of the research needed to support their conclusions.

The city raises will result in a much higher rate of raise for lower paid city employees [say firemen and police men and others] and a much higher rate of raise for those in the upper levels of city administration. Another three K for somebody earning 30K a year is a 10% raise. But a 3K raise for someone earning [or, if you prefer, receiving] 90K a year is a little over 3%. Hey, I'm all for that --- people on the lower end of the pay scale getting higher percentage raises than those on the upper end. It's the one good thing about flat across the board raises: it sends the bulk of the money to those who need it most. The Std-Ex though seems to be unhappy with that.

OK, there are other ways to do it. One option is to distribute most of the pay raise money by merit... the Std-Ex doesn't like either, apparently, since the editorial criticizes the city for having done that a couple of years ago too. Or you can distribute raises by rate [rather than flat amount]. Say, everyone gets a 4% raise... but that puts more money into the hands of the very highly paid than it puts into the hands of the lower paid. SE doesn't seem to like that either. [The editorial is unhappy with the 2005 raise package with combined merit pay with an across the board percentage raise.]

Finally, the Std-Ex scoffs at Mr. Patterson's explanation that the city will benefit from the raises, and maybe it will end up not costing much at all, because fewer trained and experienced city employees with jump to other municipalities which pay more. [Firemen and policemen for example.] Well, if the Std-Ex wants to scoff, perhaps it ought first to do a little research [always advisable before reaching a conclusion in print]. What is the turnover rate for public employees in Ogden now? What's it been for the last five years? What is it in municipalities with which we compete for employees? What has it been for the past five years? What is the pay rate for various categories of civil servants in the top of Utah? What are the comparable pay rates in Ogden?

I don't know the answer to those questions, but before I published an editorial denouncing a recent raise package as unjustified and a squandering of the public's money [and trust], I would damn well want to know. The Std-Ex editorial provided none of that information, and so none of the evidence that might have made its editorial's conclusions convincing and compelling.

Instead, the Board chose the easy cheap shot: denouncing raises for city workers without bothering to examine the evidence to see if they were justified or not.

Hmmmmm... reaching conclusions without doing the research necessary to ground those conclusions on fact and evidence. Is the Std-Ex Editorial Board taking reasoning lessons from the Godfrey Gondola team now?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Protecting Our Quality of Life

Weber County Forum Sunday Sermon

By Forbes is Right

Interesting that Forbes likes Ogden for a lot of reasons that won't exist within a short period of time as Ogden catches up with the rest of the state and nation.

Affordable housing and office space; cheap labor; low taxes and quality of life (which won't exist if Gagfrey is successful in his over the top gondola gimmick).

Ogden doesn't suffer from low self-esteem, but has suffered from an image mis-perception problem originating outside the community. That's all changing however, as a result of outsiders actually coming to Ogden as opposed to just passing on the perception. Ogdenites generally like their community for all of the reasons that Forbes has illuminated.

The question going forward is, will Ogden be able to maintain that quality of life -- or will the residents allow Gagfrey to recreate Ogden into just another expensive nondescript community, devoid of the things that make Ogden Ogden?

Ogden residents need to get involved -- and stay involved -- in order to ensure that any future development of our city protects these qualities rather than reinvents our city.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Don't Make A Stinky In This Town

“Stench is not the lasting memory that we want people to have in Ogden.”

John Patterson
Sniff squad nosing around
April 9, 2007

It's a slow news day, so we thought we'd set up a weekend kick-off open thread. Before we do, however, we want to highlight an article which appeared a few days ago in the Standard-Examiner.

Last Monday, Ace Reporter Schwebke reported that Emerald City officials are initiating a crackdown on bad odors in our little town. Producers of malodorous emissions beware:
OGDEN — The Ogden City Council may establish a citizens committee to sniff out objectionable odors coming from local factories.

Tuesday night, the council will set a date for a public hearing regarding an ordinance that would set up the committee.

In addition to creating the committee, the ordinance would also require companies to use technologies and operating methods that reduce or eliminate objectionable odors.

The new law would go into effect 90 days after the council adopts the ordinance.

Violation of the ordinance would result in civil penalties: $125 for the first violation, $250 for the second offense and up to $500 for each subsequent infraction.

John Patterson, Ogden’s chief administrative officer, said the city is not singling out a particular company for enforcement. However, the city has received numerous complaints, particularly from out-of-town visitors, about odors emanating from pet food manufacturer American Nutrition Inc., 2813 Wall Ave.
“Stench is not the lasting memory that we want people to have in Ogden,” said Boss Godfrey henchman John Patterson. Yesirree... that's a direct John Patterson quote.

This is one of those "oddball" Emerald City stories which made its way into many other newspapers and websites around the world. We haven't seen an Emerald City story so widely reported since the dazzling days of Vangate.

A television station in Arkansas had particular fun with it. This one definitely put a smile on our face.

For the best "odor ordinance" spin-off to date, however, we need look no farther afield than our own home town. For a humorous and ironic take on the "Emerald City Odor Problem," don't miss this morning's Std-Ex Letter to the Editor, penned by none other than Weber County Forum's own Dorothy Littrell.

Take it away, gentle readers.

Don't let the cat get your tongues.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Has the Old Dog Finally Learned a New Trick?

It appears that even Emerald City Emperor Boss Godfrey may be capable of learning from experience, during an election year at least, according to this morning's Kristen Moulton story. Last night, the Emerald City council approved the fiscal year 2007-08 employee pay plan, thanks to the intervention of federal mediation services:

OGDEN - City employees here will get $3,000 raises next year as part of a novel approach to compensation decisions that arose out of last summer's pay-raise debacle marked by "blue flu" and the Vangate controversy.

Rather than setting salaries the old way - by "wage-and-confer" negotiation between administrators and each of three employee groups - Ogden City has used interest-based problem solving to arrive at next year's pay raises for 364 employees.

Since last fall, a working group of 22 employees, administrators and council members have been meeting with a federal mediator to come up with the plan.

The City Council on Tuesday endorsed the group's recommended $3,000 pay hike - an idea first proposed by firefighters - by unanimously approving a joint resolution with Mayor Matthew Godfrey.

The "market adjustment" pay raises are designed to bring Ogden's wages more in line with those of comparable cities and will be built into the budget that begins
July 1.

Employees will not get merit or cost-of-living raises, but the city will pay all the expected 7.5 percent hike in health insurance costs.

John Valdez of the Utah Alliance of Government Employees contrasted what he termed this year's historic accomplishment to last year's negotiations, which resulted in impasses between the city and two employee groups, the Ogden Police Benefit Association and International Association of Firefighters Local 154.

"Where were we nine months ago? We were at each other's throats, there was a lot of mistrust and name calling," said Valdez.
"Mistrust and name calling" ain't the half of it we say, as we link for our readers a little trip down memory lane.

"This old dog has learned a new trick," Emerald City CAO John Patterson assures us.

"It will make us very, very competitive," adds Emerald City police chief Jon Greiner -- quite truthfully, we believe.

It looks like it could be construed as a win-win for all concerned, considering last year's salary negotiations debacle. We're unsure, however, whether Boss Godfrey will take it that way.

So what say our gentle readers? Has the formerly autocratic Boss Godfrey abruptly turned over a new leaf? Will this year's give-and-take salary mediation process usher in a whole new era of cooperation in BossGodfreyWorld? Has the "Little Lord" finally embraced the concept of mutual concession, and rejected the lame "Ogden is a Republic" theme? Has "Dear Leader" now been transformed suddenly from "Boss Godfrey,"into a beloved "The Man of the People?" Will the heretofore "Emperor of Emerald City" henceforth cease shoving his peculiar "vision" down the lumpencitizens' throats?

Frankly we don't know; but we think our ever-intelligent and outspoken readers can tell us all about it.

Time to start up a new discussion thread, we think.

And a special Weber County Forum Tip O' The Hat to Matt Jones, for getting the ball rolling on this.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Elevating the Discussion

By Curmudgeon

In support of Dan S.'s attempt to elevate the discussion in a lower thread, let me offer the following three items:

The first, more good ink for Ogden in this morning's Standard-Examiner. And if any one doubts the importance of having good education opportunities available right here in Ogden as a lure for residents and businesses, I can give you examples of business moves that were canceled at the last minute in another state because the company managers learned that their skill people "will not move there because of the poor schools and lack of higher education opportunities close by." It matters.

The second item is yet another example of the arrogance of power evident in our elected officials. It's from Paul Rolly's column in today's Salt Lake Tribune. Here's the gist of it:

Rolly: Legislators - Free speech? What's that?
By Paul Rolly
Tribune Columnist

Top officials of the state Office of Education were summoned to Star Chamber-type meetings with Utah legislators last month to defend their support of a referendum drive to repeal the voucher bill.

How dare they exercise their First Amendment right to free speech? Don't they know this is Utah?

One meeting was called by Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, and included Senate President John Valentine, R-Orem, Senate Majority Leader Curtis Bramble, R-Provo, and Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper.

Dayton, in an e-mail I obtained through a government open-records request, told the senators she wanted state Schools Superintendent Patti Harrington to bring the Office of Education's attorney, Carol Lear, to the meeting to explain "her perspective in trying to undermine the Legislature."

"Patti reminded me that what Carol does on her own time is her own business as a citizen," Dayton wrote.

What a radical concept.

Harrington and State School Board Chairman Kim Burningham were summoned
to another meeting with House Speaker Greg Curtis, R-Sandy. In an e-mail to fellow board members, Burningham reported that Curtis implied he would have fired Lear. He also said Curtis hinted that the referendum movement would hurt the state Office of Education's future relationship with the Legislature.

Elsewhere the Salt Lake Tribune reports that supporters of the referendum on the voucher plan collected 30K more names than they needed to trigger a referendum.

Regardless of where you stand on the voucher plan, the attempt by elected officials to intimidate state employees from on their own time working to support a referendum drive [as is their right under Utah law] is, I think, reprehensible. Who do these legislators think they are? The Mayor of Ogden?

Update 4/11/07 7:48 a.m. MT: Don't miss this morning's followup Salt Lake Tribune editorial on the voucher referendum topic.

We exerpt an astute observation appearing at the bottom of the article:

In fact, vouchers and tuition tax credits have been defeated in every state where they have made it to the ballot in the past 30 years.

That's probably why pro-voucher groups, including Utah legislators, worked so hard to undermine the referendum petition drive, claiming it would be a waste of time even if it succeeded.
Will arrogant legislative leadership continue to undermine the common sense and popular will of the people of Utah?

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Blind Faith Faction Cries Foul

This morning's Standard-Examiner story pretty well confirms reports in our lower comments sections regarding the results of Wednesday's Planning Commission meeting:
OGDEN — Mount Ogden residents anxious to have a community plan adopted for their neighborhood will have to wait a little longer.
Following a lengthy public hearing Wednesday evening, the planning commission delayed approval of the plan to further fine-tune the document.
The commission will revisit it during an April 25 work session. Final approval of the plan will rest with the city council.
Ace reporter Schwebke reports some of the general characteristics of the plan:
The plan, based on input from several citizen committees, lists characteristics important to the Mount Ogden area, including community identity, land use, parks, open space, public infrastructure and services.
As to the issue of open space, this morning's article provides some specifics which wouldn't appear to bode well for the elephant in the room:
... a citizen committee assigned to study park issues recommends Mount Ogden
Park, including the golf course and undeveloped adjoining land, be preserved as
public open space.
Mr. Schwebke's article also addresses the issue of moving the golf course clubhouse, a plan detail which some of our readers suspected to have originated not with citizen committee members, but with planning staff:
Another recommendation attributed to the committee says the city should consider relocating Mount Ogden Golf Course’s clubhouse to the top of 36th Street, if it enhances the course.
However, Deb Badger, a Mount Ogden resident who volunteered to help draft the community plan, said during Wednesday night’s planning commission public hearing, the clubhouse recommendation apparently came from the city’s planning staff and not the committee.
Jeff Sanders, a planner for the city, said the recommendation regarding the clubhouse was discussed by the committee, but it was not strongly endorsed or discouraged.
Does that clear the latter issue up? We honestly don't know that it did.

What is clear is that the Mt. Ogden Community Plan seems to be moving forward in a manner generally consistent with the wishes of the majority of the citizens who labored in committee meetings over the summer.

What's equally clear is that the current posture of the Mt. Ogden Community Plan doesn't sit well with the Emerald City Gondolist Cult, who are now desperately hoping to derail it, before the plan can be submitted to a commission vote.

In that connection we link a copy of an email sent to us by several of our gentle readers. The Blind Faith Faction now cries foul. "Those SmartGrowth meanies messed up our lawn sign campaign," claims the ever-more-manic Lift Ogden Chairman. Little Bobby is pulling out all the stops -- in multiple colors and fonts.

The Std-Ex website's article email function is currently down again. Thus we are unable to provide a link to today's Scott Schwebke story.

We'll update this page as soon as we can furnish a proper link.

In the meantime, don't hesitate to chime in with your comments.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Administration Pushes Forward on Peterson Land Grab

A Planning Commission heads-up; and a report on last night's City Council meeting

By Dan Schroeder

Pop quiz: What document from the Ogden City Administration proposes that the Mt. Ogden golf course be redesigned to be more "playable", that the golf clubhouse be relocated to a mixed-use center at the top of 36th Street, and that the trails around the golf course be "enhanced"?

(a) The gondola FAQ, posted in April 2006 and still prominently posted on the city's web site;
(b) The draft of the Mt. Ogden Community Plan, just released and posted right below the gondola FAQ on the city's web site;
(c) Both of the above.

Please, if you have time, take a look at both of these documents and see for yourself. But because the Mt. Ogden Community Plan is scheduled for a public hearing at 7:00 pm tonight (Municipal Building, 2549 Washington, 3rd floor), I'll go ahead and tell you right now that the answer is (c). That's right, the draft Mt. Ogden Community Plan includes three of the same components as the Peterson landgrab "proposal".

To be fair, the Mt. Ogden Community Plan also contains sections that directly contradict the Peterson proposal--like keeping the golf course and adjacent park lands as open space. So maybe the Plan isn't using the words "playable" and "enhance" in the same Orwellian senses as the landgrab proposal. But the Plan certainly doesn't define these words, and I'm at a loss to guess what they're actually intended to mean.

I urge all Mt. Ogden Community residents (east of Harrison, from 26th to WSU) to attend tonight's hearing and tell the Planning Commission what changes you would like to see in the Plan. One word of advice, though: Don't mention the Peterson landgrab. If you do, they won't listen to you. Argue for or against the components of the Plan on their own merits (or lack thereof), and based on what residents said they wanted during the public input meetings.

Meanwhile, at last night's City Council work session, planning director Greg Montgomery pulled out all the stops and put on a terrific show to explain why the Council should disregard the recommendation of the Planning Commission and eliminate Ogden's prohibition against building on slopes steeper than 30% (as well as the density limits on somewhat shallower slopes in the foothills). In his heroic effort he received considerable support from Councilman Safsten (who repeatedly described the current limits as "arbitrary and capricious") and Councilman Stephenson, as well as from development director Dave Harmer who was sitting in front of me in the bleachers.

Here is Ace Reporter Scott Schwebke's report on the work session.

During the two-hour discussion there was only one mention, by Councilwoman Van Hooser, of the elephant (named Peterson) in the room. I'd encourage Rudi to give her a WCF tip o' the hat for her courage.

As Schwebke says, the Council took no action. More specifically, they agreed to give the Planning Commission a chance to clarify its recommendation regarding hillside development before they proceed. This may have been appropriate, because the Planning Commission has expressed a desire to make further changes to the city's foothill zoning ordinances, perhaps moving the slope/density restrictions out of the Sensitive Area Overlay Zone ordinance and into a new base zone for foothill residential areas.

Coming back to the elephant in the room, unfortunately it seems to be alive and well--despite Rudi's obituary last month. On Monday I had a private conversation with the mayor and although I was trying to keep the subject focused on points that we could agree on (regarding transit), he kept bringing up the "gondola project". He gave no specifics on how the proposal might change in light of WSU's position. He gave no hint regarding when we'll even hear any more specifics. But he made it absolutely clear that this project is still his number-one priority.

Editor's Addendum: By all means, Dan. A Weber County Tip O' the Hat to councilwoman Van Hooser! She's proven to be a very quick study. She has mastered her council role in record time, we think, and has demonstrated that she's one of the most intelligent, thoughtful and courageous members of our Emerald City council. Her strong leadership skills are also undeniable; and we do hope she'll be throwing her hat into the ring for election to her at-large "A" council seat this year.

And speaking of the wonderful Emerald City council, don't miss our latest city council report, wherein Curmudgeon skillfully details the events of last night's council meeting.

We thank Dan Schroeder and Curmudgeon for this morning's most excellent Weber County Forum contributions.

Don't let the cat get your tongues, oh ye ever-gentle readers.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Ace Reporter Schwebke's Political Science Epiphany

Standard-Examiner ace reporter Schwebke has apparently been involved in a research assignment recently, in an effort to determine why our Emerald City Council refuses to perform as Boss Godfrey's rubber stamp. This research effort has resulted in today's headline article, wherein our favorite Std-Ex reporter reveals his recent political science epiphany:
OGDEN — Six floors separate the offices of Mayor Matthew Godfrey and the city council inside the Municipal Building downtown, but cracks in their relationship often seem much wider.
Never mind being on the same page, it frequently seems that hardcharging Godfrey and the methodical city council aren’t even reading from the same book as they attempt to map out Ogden’s future.
So who’s to blame for helping set the stage for discord?
That is if you voted in favor of a measure enacted in 1992 enabling Ogden to be governed by a full-time mayor and part-time city council.
Municipalities in Utah, other than Ogden, that use the “strong mayor” system include Salt Lake City, Provo, Logan, Sandy and Murray.
Patterned after state and federal government, the system gives Godfrey administrative and executive powers and the city council legislative responsibilities.
It has also been the catalyst for turf battles and public bickering between the
mayor and council.
Yes, gentle readers. Our Emerald City government is composed of two co-equal branches of government, with distinctly separate roles. We've been trying to hammer that point since the early days of this blog. The council/legislature sets the general policy in our city. The Mayor's office executes this policy. This formal "separation of powers" is of course the foundation of a conflicts-based system, whereby each branch acts as a check and balance against the other.

All in all, Mr. Schwebke's effort is applaudable, for a journalist with no apparent training in political science. We'll nitpick a little bit over Mr. Schwebke's above query about who is to blame for council/mayor discord. No blame should be affixed, we believe. Conflict is a key feature in governments which operate with checks and balances, Even Boss Godfrey gives at least lip service to this principle:
Godfrey believes disagreements between him and the city council ultimately foster productive debate that leads to good government, which is the hallmark of the strong mayor system.
“With everyone who has this form of government, there is a healthy tension,” he said.
And there's one other element of this otherwise excellent story with which we wish to take issue. Throughout the story, Mr. Schwebke and his interviewees repeatedly refer to our so-called "strong mayor" form of government. This is a misnomer.

In 1975 the Legislature repealed the Strong Mayor Form of Government Act and enacted what is now known as the Optional Forms of Municipal Government Act. The Act provided for optional forms of government known as council-mayor and council- manager forms and made them available to all municipalities, regardless of their classification.

Emerald City's government follows the council-mayor form of government. The archaic "strong mayor" appellation is an unfortunate mischaracterization. The persistent use of the phrase "strong mayor" is technically inaccurate, and a pet peeve of your ever-humble blogmeister. Frankly it drives him nuts.

For readers interested in a more scholarly and thorough discussion of the various traditional and optional forms of municipal government existing in Utah, we're linking to this excellent David L. Church article. Mr. Church is a prominent Utah lawyer, a recognized expert in the area of Utah municipal law and is also quoted briefly in today's Std-Ex article.

Even with the annoying "strong mayor" flaw, which we believe to glaring, we're going to give Ace Reporter Schwebke a Weber County Forum Tip O' the Hat this morning, for digging in and informing himself and his Std-Ex readers about the true conflict-oriented nature of Emerald City government.

The floor is open for your always-cogent comments.

Monday, April 02, 2007

A Letter From the Faith-based Faction

Not much on the Emerald City red-meat news front today, except a letter to the Std-Ex editors from the Boss Godfrey campaign 2007 letter mill. We've seen letters of this kind before; and we'll surely see many more as the November election aproaches. This one is a standout, however. Poor old Keven (sic) can't seem to get anything right:
The praise that Mayor Godfrey has received is especially gratifying because the man has done more for Ogden in the past few years than anyone in the past two decades. He and his associates deserve to have the good people of Ogden's support.
Yeah, the Emerald City citizens are now over $90 million in debt; and we yet await one project that's a proven success. With PeeWee's Playhouse opening in May, we're all holding our breath, hoping the Godfrey house of cards won't start tumbling during the coming summer. And there's no hint of a letup in the grand scheming. As a matter of fact, Boss Godfrey continues to ratchet-up the borrow and spend machine, and will no doubt do so until he's ushered out of office (by the grace of God) ten months hence.
He consults with the people of Ogden, his associates and experts who know what they're talking about.
Apparently this Irons kid hasn't heard that Emerald City is a republic; and that the opinions of the lumpencitizens don't mean jack. As for the so-called "experts," we know who they are: Brown, Reid and Harmer. These are the geniuses, of course, who engineer deals like BDO management, which is now running a $750 thousand annual shortfall. These "associates" are the guys who continue to mortgage free-and-clear Emerald City properties, like the latest one, which the Standard-Examiner STILL hasn't reported. And we certainly don't want to omit mentioning Chris Peterson, the would-be "expert" developer who has zero development projects on his "expert's" resume.
If no resurgence was taking place in Ogden, I'm sure the letter writer would be complaining that the mayor isn't doing enough to make Ogden a better place to live.
We have to admit we love the lame-brained certainty of faith-based Godfreyites like Mr. Irons. No unsupported assertion is ever too audacious for the Godfreyites.
As for my family and me we love the Boots and Bunker show.
That one was priceless, we thought. We didn't understand the reference either, and thus googled it. No. It's not a Saturday morning TV cartoon show.

We think this letter is notable in that it clearly reflects the shallow mindset of local folks who still blindly support the Boss Godfrey regime. There are many people in this community who remain unable or unwilling to look behind the shiny new Godfrey monuments which are now springing up in our city. What's frightening is that some of these people are old enough to vote. What's sad is that these misguided folks entirely fail and refuse even to to comprehend the tremendous risk our administration has recklessly and ruthlessly imposed -- and will continue to impose upon the taxpayers of this city -- and their grand-children.

Those of us who look forward to a new mayoral administration in Emerald City clearly have our work cut out for us.

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